Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Netherlands - Bitterballen

N for The Netherlands! Home of one of our favourite blog foods ever, Stamppot!

It wouldn't be fair to The Netherlands to make Stamppot 5 times and not explore other options. So even though I'm tempted to I'm going to make Bitterballen instead. Bitterballen are small round meatballs served in bars and pubs around The Netherlands. They're not quite the same as meatballs although they are balls of meat.


8 tablespoons butter
1 cup  flour
3 cups beef stock
2 tablespoons dried herbs
1 small onion 
1 lb ground beef
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 cup breadcrumbs
3 eggs beaten

First of all we're going to be making the Bitterballen filling which is made up of a thick roux gravy and minced beef. So start by melting the butter in a frying pan. While it's melting make up the stock so it's ready.

Slowly add the cup of flour while stirring continuously.

Now start to add the stock a bit at a time whisking it into the butter/flour mix. You have to whisk constantly to keep it from being too solid. Eventually it will make a smooth thick gravy. Stir in the herbs, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Set aside.

Dice the onion as finely as you can and saute it in another pan until it's starting to soften.

Add the minced beef and cook until browned.

When it's finished cooking mix the meat into the gravy and put in a plastic container in the fridge for 3-4 hours (or overnight if you can).

Next it's time to coat the bitterballen. Use a spoon to scoop small amounts of mixture up and roll them into balls about 2-3cm in diameter. Roll them in the beaten eggs and breadcrumbs. Fry for 4 minutes in some oil flipping halfway through.

Serve with some mustard.

These balls were really difficult to cook. The first batch went to mush. It was tasty mush but the second batch were better. Bitterballen are crispy on the outside but very soft on the inside. You end up with a mouthful of mince in gravy which goes really well with mustard, by the way. I don't think I'd make them again as it's a bit of a hassle but it was great to try them once. I'd certainly eat them in a bar in The Netherlands if someone else was making them! Very tasty!
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